Why participate in UM Alternative Breaks?
University of Miami Alternative Breaks (UMAB) is truly an “experience that lasts a lifetime.” It’s a movement that aims to open your eyes to different communities and develop active citizens who will choose to integrate community service into their lifestyles. The trips also serve as great ways to meet and bond with peers and expand the network of Alternative Breakers. Participants return from their trips with a new perspective and understanding of our world that few experiences can provide.
Who goes on Alternative Break trips?
Each year, nearly 200 undergraduate students participate in two or three trips during fall break and 15 to 20 trips during spring break. Groups consist of eight to 12 members, including one or two site leaders who are responsible for facilitating individual trips.
Where will I go?
Trip locations vary depending on the issue. All fall break trips take place within Florida, while spring break trips take place throughout the contiguous United States. We work in a variety of locations around the country, including urban, suburban and rural areas. Trip prices are all-inclusive.
Do I get to pick my site?
Applications can be submitted online. You’ll be able to rank your preferences for issues (but not locations) on your applications. Issue Showcases will help you determine which issues to make your top choices. Please note that there are a limited number of slots available, and applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Although we will do our best to assign participants to one of thier top issues, we cannot guarantee placement.
Can I sign up with my friends?
One of our goals at UMAB is for you to have a completely new experience and go beyond your comfort zone. It is best to participate individually so that you allow yourself a greater opportunity to bond with your group. Group dynamics are a crucial component of UMAB trips, and we strive to help forge new friendships before trips take place through weekly group meetings.
What will I do when I get to my site?
Each site is different, but the service itself generally takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the week. Trips also include various educational and community involvement activities, and groups will engage in reflection every evening. Trips also include one free day, which group members may spend as they choose.
Will I have free time on the trip to do what I want?
Though you will have free time available, you will not be allowed to venture out on your own. Group members are expected to make decisions regarding free time together and to stay together at all times. Past groups have gone ice skating, toured their host city or town, and spent time playing board games with each other.
What do I do if I don’t want to go anymore after I’ve signed up?
You will need to contact us as soon as possible. Refunds are awarded on a case-by-case basis, and refunds will not be available at all after a certain date. The later you inform us, the less likely you will be to receive a refund, as travel reservations may already have been booked.
How can I learn more about the trips?
Alternative Breaks Issue Showcases will highlight all of our available social justice issues. Informational cards and posters can be found around campus, and we will also be tabling in the UC Breezeway and at the Residence Halls. Feel free to email us and visit our Facebook page, too.